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  • Posted by: Ariën Breunis on Thursday, April 10 2014 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Best Dutch Media Brands

    Best Dutch Media Brands: Important lessons from the past five years

    Interbrand recently launched the fifth edition of Best Dutch Media Brands, which has been spotlighted in Tijdschrift voor Marketing, the leading marketing journal in The Netherlands. The Best Dutch Media Brands report reveals which brands are strongest in the marketplace and offers a fresh perspective on the Dutch media sector. In this blog post, I will share key lessons from the report that will benefit marketers and brand leaders around the globe. But first, let’s get a sense of the bigger picture by comparing this year’s top brands with the top brands of five years ago.

    Top Ten—2014 versus 2010

    2014

    2010

    Brands

    Category

    Brands

    Category

    1

    NOS

    Television

    SBS 6

    Television

    2

    Discovery Channel

    Television

    RTL 4

    Television

    3

    Nederland 1

    Television

    NOS

    Television

    4

    Uitzending Gemist

    Internet

    Hyves

    Internet

    5

    Facebook

    Internet

    NU.nl

    Internet

    6

    Donald Duck

    Magazine

    De Telegraaf

    Newspapers

    7

    NU.nl

    Internet

    NET 5

    Television

    8

    YouTube

    Internet

    Veronica

    Television

    9

    LinkedIn

    Internet

    RTL 7

    Television

    10

    National Geographic

    Television

    TROS

    Television

    While you may not be familiar with all the brands on the list, a closer examination of the changes in the rankings in the past five years is like looking at two different eras. As recently as 2010, television, mass communication, and big brands dominated. Just four years later, the internet, personalized content, and tailor-made brands are driving change and grabbing more mindshare in the Dutch media landscape.

    What can media brands learn from this shift? Here are three key lessons:

    1. Media brands have nothing to lose but their chains
    In recent years, traditional boundaries around media categories have blurred, if not evaporated. Television and radio, for instance, no longer exist in a vacuum and out-dated category laws no longer apply. The media world today is a digital and convergent one. It’s adage: B&C instead of B2C. Brand messages, content, and even products are no longer just “delivered” to people, as it was in the old days. Brands are now co-created, with consumer preferences and behaviors now influencing business strategy, brand strategy, and offerings. The people’s chief demand is clear: access anywhere, anyplace, anytime. Only brands that are responsive and adaptive to these trends now appear on top in the 2014 ranking. The NOS brand, for instance, is perceived as a brand that’s accessible via multiple entry points and is, therefore, close to consumers. Given the rising success of such organizations, other brands should take this as their cue to remove the shackles of their (former) category and embrace the possibilities of a digital, convergent world. Brands that still define themselves today strictly as major television or newspaper brands are likely to struggle in the future. They will become prisoners of their own category.

    2. Digital enables consumers to shape what a brand stands for today
    Another interesting development is the rise of social media brands such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Unlike traditional media brands, these brands don’t provide their own content. Social media brands offer user-generated content. In the digital age, a lack of brand owner created content, however, doesn’t mean a lack of brand influence. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn facilitate consumer connections and conversations, while monitoring what’s going in their social and professional lives. According the Best Dutch Media Brands survey results, consumers indicated that the most important driver for using these brands is to bond with others. The relevance of these brands lies in the fact that they’re tapping into a primary human need. Since social media brands use technology to deliver tailor-made, personalized content, the resulting brand experience flawlessly fits a consumer’s identity. As such, “my Facebook” is distinct from “your Facebook,” a notion that takes personalization—and relevance—to the next level. To thrive in the coming years, nearly all brands—especially media brands, which are communicative by nature—must figure out how to harness the power of digital technology to connect with and better understand consumers.

    3. Wanted: brands that believe what I believe
    A number of the top ten Best Dutch Media Brands convey or have their roots in a clear purpose, cause, or belief. Discovery Channel, for instance, is dedicated to satisfying curiosity and puts that commitment at the heart of everything they do. It’s literally the brand’s raison d'être. It gives focus and direction to all branded activities and helps to ensure consistency in look, feel, and experience—which extends to the hit series the brand produces such as Deadliest Catch, MythBusters, and Shark Week. The Discovery Channel’s products are tangible proof of what the brand stands for and believes. As a result of its clarity around and commitment to its core value, it attracts consumers who want their curiosity ignited and the thrill of discovery delivered. In Start with Why, Simon Sinek’s book about what it truly takes to lead and inspire, the author couldn’t have said it better when he when he wrote, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In other words, purpose-driven brands don’t interact with a target group, but with like-minded people. Now that’s a strong basis for a relationship!

    As these lessons illustrate, the path forward for media brands is evident: break free from your category, embrace digital, and start with a clear purpose. The key to adaptation—and success—is “change,” as the title of this blog post, borrowed from Benjamin Franklin’s famous words, indicates. What will the media landscape look like in 2015? It will depend on which brands evolve (and how quickly), and which brands fail to keep up with the pace of change.

    Ariën Breunis is an Associate Director in Interbrand’s Amsterdam office

    You can follow him on Twitter at @BreunisA

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  • Posted by: Ariën Breunis on Wednesday, July 10 2013 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

    SocratesJust recently, our national government asked us to assess the competitive strength of the Holland Brand and to identify opportunities to increase the brands’ influence in stimulating both external trade and inward investment. For me personally this wasn’t only a very interesting nation branding project, but also a perfect way to serve my country.

    The most visible form of nation branding is probably when countries promote themselves as a tourist destination, a discipline often referred to as destination branding. On the Internet hidden gems such as "It’s more fun in the Philippines," "Cameroon is back" and "Definitely Dubai" are just a couple of mouse clicks away. Many national governments are transferring a vast amount of their national currency to big advertising companies in order to come up with the aforementioned slogans and even total marketing campaigns.

    The truth is: nation branding is a big thing. This goes for both destination branding and for economic branding (trade and investment focused branding). Obviously, showing a strong national profile in order to compete successfully in the many international contests of today’s global marketplace is very important. Countries all have their reputations and they are critical to their success. However, strong country brands are not created by means of campaigns and slogans. As Simon Anholt - a well-known nation branding guru - puts it: “you can’t just do branding to a country.”

    Anyone occupied with building a strong nation brand has to recognize indeed that the way to increased competitive strength isn’t paved with just communication. In fact, a strong national brand should be based on three essential building blocks.

    • First, you need a clearly defined national narrative, an agreement on a differentiating and relevant "story" of what the nation truly stands for. 
    • Second, this narrative has to guide and direct brand execution. What you’re looking for here is focused, strategy-led communication rather than stand-alone, short-term campaigns and taglines. 
    • And the third necessary element a strong nation brand requires, is a consistent stream of actions and behaviour that constantly prove the truth of the defined national narrative.

    Sounds like modern branding theory? Socrates - here he is - is believed to have said: “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavour to be what you desire to appear.” While Brand Greece may be struggling right now, actually, in a nutshell Greece's famous philosopher has spelled out how to create and manage strong national brands. Only those countries that incorporate Socrates’ thinking into their national brand strategy, will find themselves on pole position to make a critical difference to the success of its business, trade and tourism efforts.

    Ariën Breunis is Associate Director in Interbrand’s Amsterdam office.

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